APPLICATION OF THEORY TO ASSESSMENT & INTERVENTION (Social Work)
•Identify a client/case with whom you have had an ongoing case with Royal Care (https://www.royalcare.nyc) as the social worker. Keep in mind that a case can be an individual, a family, a couple, a group, or a community and need not be a client/case that you see weekly, but one with whom you have repeated contact. Apply a theory that has been discussed in this course that is most applicable to your current work with the client and to the fieldwork setting.
•Using the social work and other literature, describe the basic assumptions of this theory, interventions that apply to the theory, and the efficacy of this theory. What are the limitations of this theory? Discuss what makes this theory relevant to your fieldwork setting and your caseload.
•Describe how you currently apply this theory or could envision application to guide your practice with your client. How does this theory inform your assessment of your client? Discuss all aspects of intersectionality, ie. gender, ethnic/religious identity and socioeconomic class.
•Using a process recording or a piece of a process recording identify three clinical interventions you were attempting to use that relate to this theory. What was your intent? What was the real outcome? What would you do differently? Discuss the clinical interventions that you could envision initiating? What outcomes would you expect or hope to accomplish with their use? •Is this a theory that is sanctioned or suggested by the agency? If not, would utilizing this theory present conflict with the philosophy of your agency? How would you negotiate such a conflict? Would this be a value conflict between you and the agency and would it present an ethical dilemma for you? Is there another theory that might be useful in working with your client?
A Case on Drug Abuse by a Juvenile at Royal Care
Royal Care is one of the facilities that appreciates the relevance of providing both medical services and compassionate human care to its clients. It gives great emphasis on professionalism, human values, health standards, and social welfare to both its staff and clients. The facility is more focused on ensuring that clients get better health services through specialized high-quality care and value-based therapy and treatment that is remedial to all clients. One of the cases faced by social workers at Royal Care is drug abuse by juveniles; in such circumstances, a social worker explores groundwork that is essential and necessary for an effective action plan to be taken (Hepworth et al., 2017). One of the most relevant discussed behavioral theories for a social worker to apply for a case of drug abuse by a juvenile is the Social Cognitive Theory (Turner, 2011). This is an applicable theory because drug abuse is always a vice that is influenced by one’s own experiences, societal setting as well as behaviors and actions of other people. This means that one’s society plays a vital role in determining the type of person that one is or intends to become in the future (Sullivan et al., 2017).
Basic assumptions of Social Cognitive Theory
Social Cognitive Theory is a theory that puts more emphasis on the ever-changing social interaction of an individual and other people in his/her social environment, his/her personal behavior as well as other people’s behavior under the umbrella of their respective environments (Bandura, 2014). The theory is rooted in the reciprocal nature of the protagonists who influence each other’s social life and behavior. It is a theory that is viewed in line with processes of learning, cognitive processes, self-regulation, and motivation processes (Schunk, 2012). Some of the assumptions for this theory include the individual’s personal behavior, personal traits, and the social setup where one lives and grows. The theory is rooted in the general assumption that holds the fact that human behavior is influenced by the people one lives and interacts with. Behavior is, therefore, assumed to be learned through observation and other cognitive processes in an individual’s environment (Schunk, 2012).
Some of the interventions that resonate with social cognitive theory include observational learning, individual self-control, external support, and individual self-worth (Bandura, 2014). The interventions that deal with an individual per se help a person in taking a persistent action and be resilient in facing obstacles for the purpose of turning over a new leaf. They are important interventions since they influence an individual’s mental and health behavior. These interventions in general differentiate themselves from other interventions through their exemplary focus that is geared towards the eradication of biases linked with how social information is processed vis-à-vis psychiatric features that some interventions target (Carillo, 2010). The efficacy of social cognitive theory is a conviction that every person has control over his or her personal behavior and the way of executing it. As such, the theory emphasizes one’s self-actualization, behavior amidst his or her behavior. It gives distinction to a self-strategy that permits and gives one a self-system to put his or her self-measures into control in line with human thoughts, emotions, and actions (Kim, 2010).
However, the social cognitive theory has limitations, for example, the theory is not unified in its meaning; this means that the majority of its features don’t link up to bring about an interconnected and cohesive description of behavior (Martin, & Guerrero, 2020). The theory holds that automatic environmental changes will contribute to changes experienced by individuals, an assumption that is not always true. Furthermore, some of the social learning aspects explained by the theory cannot be openly observed and justified; it is not very certain and clear on the extent to which some of the factors held by the theory, such as learning, can translate into actual behavior. Additionally, the theory is not considerate of individual biological predispositions and emotions which equally affect people’s behavior as well (Bandura, 2014). Irrespective of the aforementioned limitations, this theory remains relevant for this study and the caseload of drug abuse among juveniles because it holds the fact that behavior is learned and can also be unlearned, and so is drug abuse (Schunk, 2012). This gives a crucial remedy to the case at hand, and its applicability gives room for people to unlearn and relearn most of their behaviors or things that they didn’t get outright from the word go.
The social cognitive theory can be used to comprehend the social determinants of one’s health and the remote experience of one’s experience on behavior change. It also describes various aspects of intersectionality that link social features in terms of gender, race, socio-economic class, ethnic and religious classes (Boswell, Gallagher, & Farchione, 2017). Some of the three clinical interventions that relate well with social cognitive theory in this study are; contingency management, cognitive behavioral therapy, and humanistic therapy (Najavits, Kivlahan, & Kosten, 2011). The contingency management creates room for enforcement for change and also rewards individuals who successfully undergo the rehabilitation process. This can help juveniles to change their negative behavior as they will be promised some reward at the end of the rehabilitation program. Cognitive-behavioral therapy heals the minds and helps one control his thought pattern in a positive direction (Seligman, & Ollendick, 2011). Humanistic therapy, on the other hand, helps individuals to understand their self-worth and how best they can use it to achieve a better destiny.
It is crucial to appreciate that Social Cognitive Theory is not in conflict with Royal Care’s service delivery because it helps to bring about healing, which is the facility’s main mission. It may not be the exact theory intended by the facility but it is in line with its mission which promotes ethical working values and promotion of life. The only ethical dilemma with this theory is that it reduces morality to be subjective; people find themselves in different environments that influence their values, attitude, behaviors, and other attributes. Nonetheless, this cannot be used as an excuse for the individuals’ general behavior since it affects the objectivity of morality. The alternative theory to social cognitive theory is the self-efficacy theory which points out an individual’s destiny to be something inherent in his hands (Turner, 2011).
Bandura, A. (2014). Social cognitive theory of moral thought and action (pp. 69-128). Psychology Press.
Boswell, J. F., Iles, B. R., Gallagher, M. W., & Farchione, T. J. (2017). Behavioral activation strategies in cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy, 54(3), 231.
Carillo, K. D. (2010, March). Social cognitive theory in is research–literature review, criticism, and research agenda. In International Conference on Information systems, Technology and management (pp. 20-31). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Hepworth, D.H., Rooney, R.H., Rooney, D.R., Strom-Gottfried, K. & J.A. (2017). Direct social work practice: Theory and skills, 10th edition. Cengage Learning/Brooks Cole. ISBN: 978-1305633803
Kim, Y. M. (2010). Gender role and the use of university library website resources: A social cognitive theory perspective. Journal of Information Science, 36(5), 603-617.
Martin, J. J., & Guerrero, M. D. (2020). Social cognitive theory. In Routledge Handbook of Adapted Physical Education (pp. 280-295). Routledge.